Today is Valentine’s Day, and if you’re not like me this means you’re spending time with some significant other reaffirming your love (or feelings you mistake for love, if you’re young) for them. If you are like me, Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean much of anything. But this post is not about whining or feeling sorry for oneself, so let’s not do that.
If I am honest I can say that, sure, there are times that I am lonely and wonder what might be different about my life if I had a reason to buy something on this particular holiday. But that kind of thinking is a sign of a deeper unrest in me, I think. When I look inside myself and try to understand what is there, I realize a truth: I am not content. That’s not to say I am unhappy, or that I am never content these days; there are many times when contentment sweeps over me like the sea: when the weather is beautiful, when the snow erases and then regenerates the world, when I listen to a good song or read a good string of words, when I see see good art, and when I am with my friends at school. But there are times, especially when I am at home and in a room by myself, that I feel like I am not complete. I feel like I should be in a different place, with someone sitting on the couch across from me that I can talk to, and with someone lying next to me in my bed who I can shock with my cold winter feet.
This desire to be in a different place is such a strong one. While I feel like I’m in the right place as far as school goes, I’ve never felt like I was living in the right place when I’ve been here in Rock Hill. I need the city. I need vibrancy and people rushing around and a subway system. I need numbered streets in a grid pattern and good museums and tourist spots. I need to be around people to feel alive, I’ve always known that, and while there are times when I’m thankful for a chance to sit quietly alone and listen to my own breathing, those times are fewer than the times I long to be around people.
I am going to graduate in May and then my entire life will be open before me. 27 years old and everything ahead of me. I’m going to have to find a job, not so much so that I can support myself, but so that I can leave Rock Hill, move out of my parents’ house, get to somewhere with humanity everywhere I look, and start to live. If I can do that, if I can just find one place to hire me and I can pull all of this off… I can start to balance the times of contented quiet with contented noise, learn how to practice the spirituality of contentment, learn how to make of my own life whatever I want it to be, and maybe… maybe, maybe, maybe I can learn to lie down in bed next to someone, no longer feeling like something is missing in the space next to me.